Takeda to Acquire Adaptate Biotherapeutics to Develop Novel Gamma Delta (γδ) T Cell Engager Therapies Targeting Solid Tumors

Takeda | January 11, 2022

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced the exercise of its option to acquire Adaptate Biotherapeutics a UK company focused on developing antibody-based therapeutics for the modulation of variable delta 1 (Vδ1) gamma delta (γδ) T cells. Through the acquisition, Takeda will obtain Adaptate’s antibody-based γδ T cell engager platform, including pre-clinical candidate and discovery pipeline programs. Adaptate’s γδ T cell engagers are designed to specifically modulate γδ T cell-mediated immune responses at tumor sites while sparing damage to healthy cells.

The planned acquisition of Adaptate follows Takeda’s recently exercised option to acquire GammaDelta Therapeutics and is intended to further accelerate the development of innovative γδ T cell-based therapies. Combining GammaDelta’s cell therapy-based platform and Adaptate’s antibody-based γδ T cell engager platform with Takeda’s strong research and development organization positions Takeda to be at the leading edge in deploying the full potential of γδ T cells in the fight against cancer. The planned acquisition complements Takeda’s ongoing efforts to research and develop cell engagers for solid tumor applications, bolstered by the novel T cell engager COBRA platform, which was acquired from Maverick Therapeutics in another successful build-to-buy collaboration.

Partnering with early-stage innovators to access cutting-edge platforms in the fight against cancer is at the center of our R&D strategy. Adaptate’s γδ T cell engager platform and the team’s deep understanding of γδ T cell biology gives us an opportunity to develop a new class of therapeutics that tap into powerful innate immune mechanisms. The planned acquisition will strengthen our immuno-oncology R&D efforts as part of our ongoing pursuit of life-transforming medicines for patients with cancer.”

 Christopher Arendt, Ph.D., Head of Oncology Cell Therapy and Therapeutic Area Unit of Takeda

Adaptate was formed in 2019 as a spin-out company from GammaDelta with investment from Abingworth LLP and Takeda, in which Takeda received an exclusive right to purchase Adaptate for a pre-negotiated upfront payment. The acquisitions of Adaptate and GammaDelta are expected to be finalized in Q1 of Takeda’s fiscal year 2022, pending completion of review under applicable antitrust laws, including the Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the U.S.

“Our acquisition by Takeda recognizes the tremendous work put in over the last two years by Adaptate’s incredibly talented team,” said Dr. Natalie Mount, CEO of Adaptate. “We have rapidly demonstrated, in preclinical models, the therapeutic potential of our novel Vδ1-targeting antibodies, and this move brings us an exciting step closer to realizing the full potential for Vδ1 T cell targeted therapies to improve treatment outcomes for cancer patients.”

In addition, Tim Haines, Chair & Managing Partner at Abingworth noted, “Having played an instrumental role in creating Adaptate, we are delighted to see the impressive developments of its γδ T cell therapeutic antibody portfolio to date, under the leadership of Natalie Mount. We look forward to seeing Takeda progress Adaptate’s very promising therapeutic antibodies into the clinic.”

Takeda’s oncology pipeline focuses on novel strategies that leverage the power of the immune system, with a focus on innate immunity. Innate immune responses serve as the body’s first defense mechanism against disease and involve the orchestration of a broad arsenal of mechanisms and cell types, including γδ T cells and natural killer (NK) cells, that may help to overcome cancer’s ability to evade immune recognition. Adaptate has discovered a unique set of antibodies that selectively modulate γδ T cell activity in the tumor microenvironment. The antibodies provide a precisely targeted signal to the immune system, thereby offering the opportunity for superior efficacy and safety compared to conventional immuno-oncology approaches in solid tumors.

Takeda’s Commitment to Oncology
Our core R&D mission is to deliver novel medicines to patients with cancer worldwide through our commitment to science, breakthrough innovation and passion for improving the lives of patients. Whether it’s with our hematology therapies, our robust pipeline, or solid tumor medicines, we aim to stay both innovative and competitive to bring patients the treatments they need. 

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, values-based, R&D-driven biopharmaceutical leader headquartered in Japan, committed to discover and deliver life-transforming treatments, guided by our commitment to patients, our people and the planet. Takeda focuses its R&D efforts on four therapeutic areas: Oncology, Rare Genetics and Hematology, Neuroscience, and Gastroenterology (GI). We also make targeted R&D investments in Plasma-Derived Therapies and Vaccines. We are focusing on developing highly innovative medicines that contribute to making a difference in people’s lives by advancing the frontier of new treatment options and leveraging our enhanced collaborative R&D engine and capabilities to create a robust, modality-diverse pipeline. Our employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients and to working with our partners in healthcare in approximately 80 countries and regions. 

About Adaptate Biotherapeutics
Adaptate Biotherapeutics is an immunotherapy company developing an innovative portfolio of therapeutic antibodies designed to modulate the activity of a patient’s own cytotoxic gamma delta T cells in situ. Our exquisitely targeted approach offers the potential to safely and effectively address the challenges often encountered by current cancer immunotherapies.


Did you know that stem cells were first discovered in 1868 by German biologist Ernst Haeckel? Or that the first successful human bone marrow transplant was used to treat Leukemia in 1956? Stem cell research has been ongoing for quite some time. While stem cells tend to be involved in somewhat heated debates about their origin and use, these cells are extremely valuable to new treatment and transplant technologies.


Did you know that stem cells were first discovered in 1868 by German biologist Ernst Haeckel? Or that the first successful human bone marrow transplant was used to treat Leukemia in 1956? Stem cell research has been ongoing for quite some time. While stem cells tend to be involved in somewhat heated debates about their origin and use, these cells are extremely valuable to new treatment and transplant technologies.

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